Looks as though Zero Emission technology is starting to come on apace in the world of competition. Not only will there be a, one lap, TT race for Zero Emission bikes in the 2009 TT races but, as Simon Roots at Superbike writes below, a couple of guys have single handedly built and raced an electric drag racer in six weeks. having recorded a sub 15 second run they are now aiming at a few tweaks and then going for a sub 12 second run.


We've taken a big interest in the forthcoming TTXGP race – the world's first carbon free contest to be held at the Isle of Man during TT week. At the recent unveiling of the teams, we got talking to Kingston University's Paul Brandon who heads up the student scuderia. He's just been in touch after his team fared very well at the Alternative Energy Drag Race at Santa Pod. Here's his report.

Due to the progress we have made with the TTXGP bike we decided to get involved with another zero emissions project.

6 weeks ago we took the decision to enter a motorbike into the Alternative Energy Drag Race 2009 (the aim is record the quickest time over a ¼ mile sprint). This took place at Santa Pod – the European home of International drag racing. There are 2 classes, alternative fuels (such as Biodiesel, Ethanol, etc) and Zero Emissions (such as Electric, Hydrogen, pneumatic, etc). We initially thought of using the TTXGP bike but decided it would need too many changes to be competitive in this ¼ mile sprint. Our goal was to record a sub 15s time.

Although the students doing the TTXGP project wanted to get involved in this I decided they already had enough to do with the TTXGP bike. Instead I approached my 1st year students to see if anyone would be interested. As luck would have it one of the 1st year students (Andy Irvine) had been drag racing since he was 9 and was really up for this. So I sat down with Andy 6 weeks ago and we designed a bespoke chassis and powertrain solution that would be suitable for the event. Andy then single handily took on the task of making the whole bike from scratch in only 6 weeks – a phenomenal challenge. LifeBatt (current supports of the TTXGP bike) provided the sponsorship necessary for this project. Last week was very hectic as time was running out and the race was only 5 days away. Grant Fraser (another 1st year student) and Barry Wade (Auto Lab Technician) both offered some help and we managed to get the bike running in the Roe Vale car park by Thursday at 8pm. We packed it all up in the van Thursday evening and set off at 06:30 am Friday, heading for Santa Pod. We had some final setup issues to sort out Friday am before the racing started from 13:00 to 17:00.

Our first run was a very respectable 18.6 seconds – outstanding really given we had only started building this bike 6 weeks ago. After various changes to the electronics, motors and batteries we had managed to reduce our time down to 15.021s, just outside our goal of sub 15s. One final adjustment and we were sitting on the start line for our last run of the day. Expectations were high and we were confident we could achieve a sub 15s time. Andy was on the start line, we were all looking at the lights, the green light came on and Andy took off, we then focused on the timing board and all held our breath. He crossed the ¼ mile timing mark and up popped his time 14.998s – we had done it. Ideally we would have liked to walk away with the record or 14.417s , but I had called the gearing incorrectly and we could not change this at the track L. However, we did win the fastest zero emission vehicle of the day.

Future plans for this bike include asub 12s time for the ¼ mile and then an attempt on the world speed record for an electric bike!!